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St Basil's Cathedral

St Basil's Cathedral with its multicoloured domes is the most famous image of Russia, standing on the edge of Moscow's Red Square, a striking design that was commissioned by Ivan the Terrible to commemorate his victorious military campaign against the Tartar Mongols at Kazan in 1552. Legend has it that Ivan was so overwhelmed by its beauty that he had the architect blinded to prevent him from creating anything to rival it.

St Basil's Cathedral comprises a central chapel surrounded by eight red brick tower-like chapels, each crowned with a different coloured and uniquely patterned onion-shaped dome. The church escaped demolition many times during the city's turbulent history and with the beginning of the Soviet regime the cathedral was closed and later turned into a museum. The interior is a dimly lit maze of corridors and delicately decorated chapels, one of them housing a priceless 16th-century screen decorated with icons that shields the inner sanctuary. In comparison to the exquisite exterior, the interior can seem disappointing.

Address: Krasnaya Ploshchad 4

Telephone: (095) 298 5880

Transport: Metro stop Kitai Gorod

Opening times: Daily 11am-5:30pm. Closed Tuesdays.